Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday word, 28 Dec 2010

Michael Raguso-Minerva Ahumada Torres wedding (28 Dec 2010)

Tob 8. 5-7; Ps 103; Col 3. 12-17; Mk 10. 6-9

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

For the World and for Each Other

Minerva and Michael, today you inaugurate your noble purpose in life. St. Paul offers practical advice, and Jesus elevates the practical to align with the divine desire for you. First, my word about your noble purpose. While marriage is a human vocation, you recognize that it is also more. Sharing your vows with each other in the presence of this faith community indicates you recognize marriage participates in the life of God, which flowed into you at your baptisms.

Catholic marriage acknowledges that. Its rite begins to testify to that, as you and your guests will shortly hear: “Michael and Minerva,” I will begin, Christ Jesus has already consecrated you in baptism and now he enriches and strengthens you by [this] sacrament” for your married life together in mutual and lasting fidelity.”1 What is the hallmark of mutual and lasting fidelity? It is your noble purpose: to receive each other’s love.

Giving love is much easier than receiving love. One reason is that when I show love I am in control. When I receive another’s love, I am not in control. The temptation exists when I show love to get something, to influence another or to be noticed. Receiving love—from the smallest kindness to another sharing in my joy or sorrow—happens to me as I am, deserving or not.

I mention receiving love to deepen your convictions and awareness about the mutual operation of forgiveness and love in your married life together. They are, as you described them to me, the “lifeblood of marriage” and your “tools” to make your life together thrive. Our Christian lives remind us that God loves us first.

We receive God’s living love in numerous ways, including: the sacraments; through prayers said for us; through the example of family and friends; and by the good done our way by people we know and people we don’t. Receiving love shapes us and equips us to show love to others.

The marriage vows which you have been considering before today can sound as though giving love is the goal of each of you. Friends, you will hear Michael and Minerva express more than to love; they will honor each other. Marital honor is the highest esteem each spouse can show the other. Further, that mutual esteem belongs to you alone! Marital honor welcomes the spouse and the love the spouse offers. Your bodies, minds, emotions, likes and dislikes and deep desires will shape your mutual honor to be uniquely yours. Words, bodies, minds, emotions, likes and dislikes, suggest concrete things not ideals. Here St. Paul’s clothing-image offers you vivid aid.

The total of pieces of material given particular colors and arranged in particular fashion is a garment. In a similar way love is more than techniques. Ways of learning each other and ways of handling difficult situations, which you incorporate into your daily living, shape love as your living garments. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience are not techniques, they form the wardrobe of your married love. They also are ways of receiving love, which is your noble purpose from today.

Jesus reminds you that your loving union is God’s desire for you. Your movement toward deeper union will see many faces. Some of those faces are here; others could not be here; still other faces you have yet to behold.

Remember and relish God’s desire in bringing you together because God’s desire begins your vocation to grow as one and gives you courage to allow your noble purpose to open the eyes and hearts of other people to notice their vocations in ever brighter and clearer light.

Michael and Minerva, I am proud of you, and I wish you every good thing. I congratulate you on behalf of the church. As you are patient with each other, also be eager to see the best in each other and build on it. As each of you experiences a difficulty or question or setback, endure it, not alone, but as one. For so has the God of our ancestors created you: as one for the world; for one another’s joy; as an incarnation of the new and everlasting covenant2 Jesus has secured by his dying and rising; and to help you savor life in your future together as well as in the age to come.


  1. Rite of Marriage, 23.
  2. Words said over the chalice at the consecration at mass.
Wiki-images by Carlos Ginard of the interior of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Mazatlán and by Jeff Belmonte of wedding rings are used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday word, 20 Dec 2010

Advent Monday 4 (20 Dec 2010)

Is 7. 10-14; Ps 24; Lk 1. 26-38

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Psalm Comment

The days are nearing when we shall observe our annual celebration of the Incarnation. To help us celebrate with more lively hearts I would like to reflect with you on our responsorial psalm. Besides yesterday and today, the church uses Psalm 24 on All Saints as well as on the Presentation of the Lord and feasts of Mary.

The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it remind us God is the creator of all: and God creates at each moment. The psalm describes the creator as also God [the] Savior, and it further describes that people long to see God’s face. To see God’s face is not about eyes only. It is about presence: we see each other’s faces this morning because we are with one another.

The Incarnation is God’s eternal decision to visit us in our humanity as one of us. The Incarnation fulfills our dream to be in the divine presence. We enjoy God’s presence now only mediated by one another in various ways: around the tables of God’s word and God’s son; in sharing prayer with one another and praying for each other; in studying, speaking about and reflecting on God’s word and sacraments as well as our faith journeys with each other; and both in receiving love and sharing it, to name a few.

Sharing love in concrete ways shows our fidelity to our ever-faithful creator. That is the best way you and I demonstrate, in the words of the psalm, that our hands are sinless...and our heart[s are] clean. Sharing love in concrete ways, Jesus reminded us, is how we gain salvation, our share in his risen life for ever. Sharing love in concrete ways leads us to join all the saints. Sharing love in concrete ways is how Jesus presents himself anew to people through us.

To allow Jesus to present himself anew through us calls us to be open to being surprised by how Jesus desires to present himself to us. Mary was open to Holy Spirit conceiving her son, even though her experience suggested it was outlandish as well as scandalous. By contrast many generations before Mary, Ahaz refused to allow Prophet Isaiah to upset his alliance with a foreign power or to be surprised by God’s fidelity to the lineage of David, fidelity more real & lasting than international alliances.

Psalm 24 reminds us of God’s fidelity as creator and savior. Psalm 24 also invites us to renew and deepen our sharing love in concrete ways. Psalm 24 encourages us to allow Jesus to enter our lives in the subtle, surprising, challenging and comforting ways which mark his becoming human so we can become more godly. To say that again: the Incarnation began our salvation.


Wiki-image of Leonardo's Annunciation angel is in the public domain.